Friday, July 17, 2015

"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh 
but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
We destroy arguments 
and every lofty opinion raise against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ." 
2 Cor. 10:4-5

So, I am into week 4 of the Bible study I have been participating in on how to mend a wounded heart. This week's challenges have been a huge challenge for me. Its definitely ironic how, when God wants to teach you something specific, He tends to send specific issues to challenge what you thought you had learned:-)
This week, the author, Suzanne Eller, challenged us to evaluate the playground of the mind. What do I spend my time thinking about? What painful situations do I tend to replay in the playground of my mind? Yes, there is a time to work thru the issues of painful situations in our lives but we can't live in those situations day after day. That is the playground Satan loves us to be in because it's there we turn into ungrateful, unsatisfied, embittered, and selfish people. God wants to clean out every area of our lives that doesn't line up with what He knows is best for us.
Neil Anderson in his book, Freedom from Fear, gives an excellent definition of what a stronghold looks like. "Strongholds are habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are deeply ingrained in a person's personality. They are similar in concept to what psychologist call "defense mechanisms," which are unhealthy ways of coping with life." Ouch! After reading that, I definitely don't want to live that painful lifestyle and want God to clean out the strongholds in my life.
Another strong statement I read was by a wise woman, Margaret Thatcher. She advises us this way, "Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits, Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."
Our thoughts are very powerful weapons. God promises DIVINE power to break down the wrong thought patterns in our lives...but we must use it! He won't force us to tap into His divine power but is more than willing to give us the power we need to break down those areas in our thought life that need to be replaced with His truth and grace. God never promised that His way would be easy. But He promised to be with us each step of the way. He doesn't promise that every situation in our lives will be mended and healed but He does promise to be the Healer and the Gracegiver.
One of the biggest things I am learning right now thru this study is this....I cannot take someone else's brokenness personally. That's very difficult! But if I can with God's help, see that in ALL things God has my good and His glory in it all, I can then partner up with God and instead of allowing the hurt someone else's actions toward me to define who I am, I can be a tool God uses to help reach out to that hurting person. Yes, there are times healthy boundaries need to be set in place and that needs to be done but even in that, let God define who you are to Him and don't let the hurt of another define who you are in your own eyes.
Thru my teen years, one of the songs that I wrote out and placed on the back side of my door to my room had these words...
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love...

Like the rainbow of promise, God promises strength for every day...
His rest is sweet...and His grace and kindness and love are unending. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

" Fear not, for I am with you;
 be not dismayed, for I am your God;
 I will strengthen you, I will help you, 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10
As I continue in my online Bible study, I came across this verse that has become my "week verse" this week. Fear is a word that easily slips into our minds and sometimes we dont even realize that its controlling us. God says to "fear NOT" and gives a reason why, "for I AM with you." He not only is a call away, He is WITH me! 
I looked up the word "dismay" because I was a little curious as to what it really meant. This is what I found - Dismay - to break down the courage of completely; thoroughly disheartened." That put a new "spin" on the meaning of this verse for me. Its so easy for me at least to become "dismayed" especially in light of what our world has become. But guess what! God commands us to "be NOT dismayed" and tells us why, "because HE is our God!" What a comfort that is to a heart that tends to worry and become disheartened. No matter what our government tells us we have the "liberty" to do, God is still in control. And we can claim like Esther in the OT and courageously say, "we are here for such a time as this." We are here to be light to a very fallen world. 
I love the last part of this verse as God promises to strengthen, help, and uphold! Oh the wealth that is in this verse! When I am falling, He is there to strengthen me. When I am overwhelmed by life, He is there to help me. When I feel powerless, His power is there to uphold me!
As usual, the picture I chose for this post, has a special thought with it. The camera couldn't do this site justice. My daughter and I went out to take pictures of this beautiful painting of God's and she said to me, "Mom look at that cloud. There is a little black out line above it (you can barely see it in the picture) and it looks to me like Jesus is sitting on that cloud." I must admit, I thought the same thing. Jesus sitting on the cloud look at me and saying, "I am still in control and love you!" Revelation 14:14 says this, "And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a Son of man." It was like the Lord was saying to my heart, "I am here, I am in control. Don't be afraid just trust me!"

Just some rambling heart thoughts from me this morning. Pray they in some way will encourage you too!